K-12 online learning continues to grow in popularity and acceptance in North America. Canada, in particular, continues to expand with over 300,000 students being enrolled in distance and online programs in 2019. Despite this rapid growth, there does not appear to be much recognition of this form of learning by institutions in Canada that provide teacher training programs. Understandably, programming changes take time to adjust to workplace needs. This report highlights the status of teacher education programs with regard to provision of distance and online field experiences by Canadian teacher education programs.

In-service teacher professional development is one area where distance and online training for educators is being actioned by Canadian institutions. From Newfoundland and Labrador to British Columbia there are examples of program offerings that support distance and online learning professional development for in-service educators. Graduate certificate, diploma, and degree programs across several universities in Canada are available, with Athabasca University even offering a series of open access MOOCs targeted at supporting distance and online education professional development.

The information presented in this report originated from a mixed method study originally conducted in the US, which was replicated within Canada. Based upon the Canadian replication, a minority of the respondents’ programs currently had online or blended field experiences for their pre-service or in-service teachers. Furthermore, at the time there was little likelihood of more programming addressing the distance and online field experience needs of educators due to institutional lack of resources, a limited knowledge base, perceived lack of usefulness for their teachers’ future careers, and regulatory discouraging of online field experiences. This report highlights the dramatic need for programming in this area of distance and online education.

The report can be accessed at:

https://k12sotn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/k12ol-teacher-ed.pdf

Announcing Special Report – Teacher Education and K-12 Online Learning

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